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What Does It Mean to be Free?


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seraaa

I read an interview today in which an author discussed the journey her character undergoes in the course of her novel. It touches on something we talk about a lot on here and which @kmachete14 just mentioned - de-programming. The idea that de-programming is about about replacing one mental model of the world and self with another.

I had this topic on my mind and the following section just really jumped out at me as a neat distillation of the problem. idk I just read it and though, oh

https://therumpus.net/2020/01/the-rumpus-interview-with-miranda-popkey/

Quote

 

A lot of the thinking behind the book came from my reckoning with the ways that I was socialized as a woman, the kinds of culture that I consumed, and the kinds of relationships that that culture modelled. There’s not full autonomy when it comes to how someone is socialized, especially when you’re socialized quite young.

You’re absorbing culture in a way that is uncritical, and unconscious, and not necessarily chosen. So, there are certain things about her perspective and the shape of her desires, and the particular way that her mind works, I think she is fighting against some of the models that she has absorbed. But those models are in there. I think that’s just something you don’t necessarily have control over. She uses that very true fact to tell herself a story about how there is no way to escape that trap. I hope by the end of the novel she understands that that is not true, that there is a way that you can try to tell yourself a different story and you can look for different kinds of stories and in that way, you can reshape the default that your brain is set on

 

 

Edited by seraaa
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Marmion
6 hours ago, AmazonGrace said:

Sometimes it might be the other way around. If someone was raised in the dark basement and had no choice to be forced into a pre-set mindset their opinions might be changeable if they got exposed to other ideas. But how do you reason with someone who already was exposed to other ideas and had other options and decided to shut them out, stick fingers in their ears and chant cult-cult-cult?

The first scenario would entail a person being brought up in a closed cult that shuts its members off from the outside world , and resides in a compound, such as with say the FLDS , or Branch Davidians , for example.  Most high control groups however aren't quite so isolated , but rather are open cults which exists in a self created echo chamber . These are the narrow minded fundamentalists , whom we may encounter in our day to day lives .  And we are to engage them the same as we would any indoctrinated individual .  https://www.cultwatch.com/how-to-help-friends-family.html , http://theconversation.com/how-to-talk-someone-out-of-a-damaging-cult-68930 

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AmazonGrace

I wasn't necessarily  thinking  of physical isolation, more like a dark cellar of ideas, the kind of life in which your parents told you that education, worldly influences, and everyone who believes differently are of Satan and critical thinking gets you punished for disobedience. Their freedom of thinking is severely curtailed and they might not know any better.

And then there are the people who weren't raised like that and were exposed to all sorts of interesting people and ideas, and would have been able to know better and free to choose differently. Yet they decide to join cults that dictate what to think.. It's like self-amputating your intellectual  freedom. What kind of rational arguments would work on people who already have heard it all and it had no bearing on their decision to adopt misogyny and other abusive beliefs.

I'm not explaining this well.

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haroldtheyrefundies
On 12/31/2019 at 1:47 PM, DalmatianCat said:

I can’t imagine trying to pursue that for the very first time in my mid-20s when I’d been out of school as long as Jill has with no access to her high school transcripts (I’m assuming her parents have them).

That's what I'm thinking. Jill hasn't started college classes because with her education background it will be just as hard to get into a college let alone start going to classes. One of the Pennington kids, Chris, has recently been accepted into Austin Community College for next semester but they have been playing catch up in order to go. They had to take the GED/ the Texas state college entrance exam, review basic math facts like multiplication, and get all the shots that they didn't get as a kid. I know the older Duggar kids got their GED, but I feel like most schools won't accept a GED from 10 years ago. Jill will still have to take the ACT/SAT because colleges put you in remedial math courses if you don't have the right ACT math score for college algebra. That's why I'm just now taking college algebra this spring semester because I've never been good at math and I needed to take two remedial math courses and I had to repeat them both... Jill's best bet is to start with Khan Academy and do a high school review and then take general ed classes and do pre nursing at a community college. It's going to be hard, but not impossible. 

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treehugger
1 hour ago, haroldtheyrefundies said:

Jill's best bet is to start with Khan Academy and do a high school review and then take general ed classes and do pre nursing at a community college. It's going to be hard, but not impossible. 

Yes, but just think of the sheer time and energy that is going to take.  She has two little kids as well.  Something like that would be hard for a well adjusted individual with a lot of support.  Jill isn’t, and doesn’t seem to have that.  

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Coconut Flan

She'd have to want to do all that work.  I think it's more likely it's the desire of posters here much more than it is Jill's.

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treehugger

Not just want to, but be able to.  I don’t know if anyone here remembers reading about Elizabeth Esther.  She escaped fundamentalism and wrote a book about it Girl at the End of the World.  She went back to university last year hoping to get her masters. Unfortunately her mental health wouldn’t permit that.  She’s written about it on her instagram.  Religious trauma is real.  
 

Wanting something isn’t always enough.  And not being able to do the things you might want to but can’t doesn’t make you a failure.  

Edited by treehugger
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jjmennonite

I was not homeschooled, but I was raised by some original head covering, dresses only fundies. They left the strict Mennonites when I was 5 and I got to wear normal clothes, but they didn't leave the mind set. I have been thinking about my long journey to freedom, reading this thread. I am 61.

I was not educationally deprived - huge plus, but post secondary education was never spoken about or modeled, so I just assumed I was too poor to go to uni, and nobody told me otherwise, despite my honours marks. I figured it out, and got a degree by age 22, and had none of the challenges the homeschooled people face.

Emotional freedom was an entirely different story. I have high anxiety, and depression and I used to cry myself to sleep at night, worrying about the unsaved. As a believer,  I was certain that I would go to heaven if I killed myself, and my suicidal fantasies stopped for years, in my mid twenties, when I stopped believing in heaven/hell. There was a bit of freedom. 

I have 3 sisters, and all 4 of us have chosen abusive partners, and none of us are with them, now. My father was an abusive, depressive, hyper religious asshole, but not extreme - spankings, not beatings. The abuse: sexual, verbal, physical, spiritual was not as extreme as many of the stories others have.  

. I still fight the internalized misogyny and many other damaging beliefs about myself. I know patriarchy and its damages are pervasive, but it seems like a special dose of evil when you are taught this is all the will of god. I blame fundamentalism for exacerbating my anxiety/depression and my parents taking me for prayer sessions instead of mental health treatment. I may be mostly free. Free Jinger has certainly helped - been reading here since before the rapture.

It has been said before, that the pants may not really indicate much freedom. We got to wear normal clothes, but we were certainly not free. 

Edited by jjmennonite
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raspberrymint
17 hours ago, formergothardite said:

They should probably get off a tv show based on terrible beliefs if they want privacy. 

As long as someone is participating in publicly pushing hate(and by being on these shows they are) then they don't get to claim that they want privacy about their beliefs. 

I wasn't specifically referring to a few individuals on a contract that began when they were minors.

And freedom is freedom of choice.  Not everyone wants to go to school.  That doesn't mean they're not free.  Lots of young adults aren't free who feel forced to follow their parents' prescribed paths that include a certain career, and consequently school, or face ostracism and family shame.

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jjmennonite
9 hours ago, raspberrymint said:

And freedom is freedom of choice.  Not everyone wants to go to school.  That doesn't mean they're not free.  Lots of young adults aren't free who feel forced to follow their parents' prescribed paths that include a certain career, and consequently school, or face ostracism and family shame.

This is a really good point. I intentionally raised my daughter with the expectation that she would go to some kind of post-secondary. Hopefully she still felt free to make her choices. I know plenty of messed up educated people. 

Patriarchy and misogyny and male violence are pervasive in the world, not just the fundy world. But, for me, personally, as I stated above, there is a special evil injection to believing it is the will of god. And I was taught to passively pray and wait for god to take away my problems. 

We were pretty much set up by our upbringing, to be targets of controlling men. I see the story constantly replayed in the lives of my sisters and cousins. I feel very lucky that all the assholes I dated in my twenties were not into marriage, or I would be a divorced  grandmother, now.  

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It’s very difficult to tell with Jinger and Jill, because even where they’ve differed from their parents they are so obviously being led by their husbands. The rumours about a rift between Derrick and JB are driven by things Derrick says about holding different beliefs, not things Jill says. Jinger I think found the fundie husband who would give her the life she wanted, and that life is very different from the one she was raised with, but still very clearly driven by Jeremy’s values and goals. And that’s the difficult thing with married female fundies, we don’t know what discussions and compromise *might* be happening behind closed doors, so short of divorce we can never really say if they’re “free”. For all we know, they’re LESS free now and doing these things that they weren’t raised with because their husbands told them to, but really wishing they could go back to the ways they were raised with. 
 

Freedom relies on autonomy, and autonomy is a complicated beast because none of our wants and aspirations grow in a vacuum. Even Jill going to a secular school to be a proper midwife - maybe midwifery itself as a career option is only in her interests because she was raised to believe caring roles are the only suitable options for women. Does she have to break free of those thought patterns before she can be said to be making a real choice?

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AuntKrazy
20 hours ago, haroldtheyrefundies said:

Jill will still have to take the ACT/SAT because colleges put you in remedial math courses if you don't have the right ACT math score for college algebra. That's why I'm just now taking college algebra this spring semester because I've never been good at math and I needed to take two remedial math courses and I had to repeat them both... Jill's best bet is to start with Khan Academy and do a high school review and then take general ed classes and do pre nursing at a community college. It's going to be hard, but not impossible. 

As an FYI - the Texas community college system actually has changed some of they way it teaches math and has remedial hours alongside credit hours for most pre-college algebra classes these days.  There's a statewide requirement to offer these as co-recs going forward for people like Jill/or non-traditional students needing help with math.  The idea is to offer the extra help alongside the class and emplower people to move through more quickly.

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feministxtian

@haroldtheyrefundies my son will be starting at the local 2 year school here in a couple of weeks. His GED is over 10 years old. He did not have to take the SAT/ACT either. He took placement tests for math and english and has to take a remedial class first. He's planning to do a 2+2 from the 2 year school to the 4 year school for a degree in mechanical engineering with a 5th year option for a masters in Aerospace engineering. 

All my kids were "late starters" for college, all of them have a GED and none of them have had to take SAT/ACT. My daughter just started her Master's in IT and didn't have to take the GRE either. There are a variety of paths for college for the non-traditional student. 

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haroldtheyrefundies

@feministxtian this is all good to know, thank you! I just assume that since the GED test updates every so often people who are going into college now and took an older version of the GED test they will have to retake the newer updated version. I was homeschooled but I ended up getting a high school diploma through an accredited online high school so I never had to get the GED so I of course don't know a lot of about it. Kudos to your kids for going into science and math heavy fields. I could never do that. 

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